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Definition of Drop Sets


Updated May 26, 2009


Drop sets are weight training sets in which the weight is decreased in each subsequent set in a group of sets.

A set is a group of repetitions of a single exercise. A repetition is one instance of an exercise.

The first set should be with a weight that induces "failure" at the final repetition so that you cannot do one more repetition.

In drop sets you can vary the format by:

  • decreasing the weight and increasing the number of repetitions in the subsequent set
  • decreasing the weight and keeping the number of repetitions the same
  • varying rest time between sets (or having none at all)
  • by reducing the weight a little or a lot.

You can check out more weight training fundamentals in the weight training guide.

Also Known As:

Drop sets are sometimes called "reverse pyramid" sets because you start with a heavy weight and progessively reduce it.


The workout program called for 3 drop sets starting at 6 repetitions to failure, with a weight reduction of 15% for each subsequent set and progression to failure, and no rest between sets.

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